The Henry Gorski Retrospective
The Gorski Retrospective highlights the conflict resolution process binding an artist's canvasses of a lifetime into a formal and meaningful progression, as diversity into a dialectic continuity. It validates the conflict resolution process, which provides greater insights into an artist's works.
The predominant themes in the artist's preoccupations are with the helplessness of man. Adam first is seen as dehumanized, a victim in a personal struggle with the mistrusted political war machine. Resolving his anger at the Vietnam War, the artist becomes preoccupied with love in the era of the post-war intellectual and societal liberation. The free search for love generates a sense of danger to a married, devout, Catholic man. Temptation and guilt were reflected in his preoccupation with the Crucifix. The artist moved from the theme of the individual sacrifice out of guilt to a new phase of oppression related to losing one's identity playing team sports.
In the final phase of his work, the artist returns to the predicament of his son, who has been diagnosed as mentally retarded. But now, the matured son is no longer a victim, but a winner. In the sequence of the Aberrations of the Creator, Gorski presented studies of men facing the same challenges presented to his son as empowered, sensitive, profound and very respectable individuals. One could say that the artist resolved the conflicts in the Birth and Death of Adam as a submissive person who first felt oppressed and angry, who then became loving, trusting, vulnerable, guilty and self-sacrificial; he who wished to be assertive and bold as an athlete seeks to question the nature of reality. Finally he found himself becoming a self-respecting man reconciled with the creator, despite the challenges that he faced in his life. The saga of Adam is of a proud man whose identity evolved from a chill of darkness to that of the crucifix, to that of Manuel with Bird, evolved to feel humble and sensitive, yet empowered and dignified, respectful of the Creator in spite of his mistakes.
The Gorski paintings are integrated as series of the six part conflict resolution process. Gorskiwhile the canvases of the images of four mouth-canvases reflect the formal alternative ways in dealing with conflict
For more information, please refer to this Gorski site.
HENRY GORSKI'S LETTER TO DR. LEVIS, 1987
“William Blake’s prophetic and apocalyptic poem speaks to our present age of all-pervasive de- humanization: “My mother groan’d! My father wept. Into the dangerous world I leapt”
I leapt out of my mother’s womb in the back room of a working man’s tavern located in a steel town during a world war. My personal odyssey since that traumatic day encompassed half the spinning globe and spanned a depression, another war worth three bronze stars, apprehensions of atomic dissolution as a map maker, still another war which threatened one son, dealing with a severely handicapped hyperactive other son, etc., etc...Painting and art became a defensive shield which cushioned the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” What these “interesting” times (“interesting” in the acrimonious sense of cursing an enemy: “May you live in an interesting age!”) had wrought to my inner person determined the directions my painting would take.
Interest in other cultures dealing with these inward conflicts and bogey men of spiritual under- grounds took me to Pre-Columbian Mexico, mystical Spain and most recently to Italy. The study of Primitive Art experienced first hand in New Guinea, the island arts of the Pacific, Australia and the West Coast, the anxieties of Kafka and Dostoevsky and the mosaics of Italian basilicas established my particular thrust toward expressing and revealing some dimension of the inner person.
A chance meeting, perhaps a natural gravitation, a confluence of opposite attractions (of Art grafting onto Science) has since developed into a fecund relationship. Albert Levis perceived seemingly parallel directions in my paintings as symbols applicable to his Formal Theory of human behavior-- directions of which I was not consciously aware.
My own comments on my paintings in the following text are, to the best of my memory, the sources of inspiration which motivated them. At times there may be differing, even contradictory responses to my work; but that is the multifaceted nature of art--that it can present different aspects, evoke varying responses at different times.
Albert Levis in his formal approach to behavior theory, as seen and interpreted through the artist’s eye, has enhanced the realm of creative vision which I experienced intuitively as a painter. His new dimension of insight fostered a meaningful relationship between the Formalist and the Intuitionist. This manuscript extends the frontiers of understanding our humanity.”